Operating an enterprise across different countries is an extremely complex process. There is a range of operational issues that need careful management, including maintaining relationships with lots of different local suppliers, conducting business with a wide variety of international customers and navigating multiple sets of regulations, all at the same time.
Looking through the lens of risk and compliance management, it becomes clear just how much of a logistical challenge these enterprises and their operations managers face. In Europe, where many countries are within close proximity of each other, the landscape of differing regulatory standards can be a particular issue for vehicle operators and fleet managers.
Does each field worker have the appropriate paperwork to cross the border if their schedule changes? Would their vehicle pass a safety inspection in every country they drive through? Do insurance requirements differ in different countries? These are some of the questions that, if left unaddressed, can cause vehicle operators and fleet managers delays and disrupt operations. Even ensuring compliance with data privacy regulation can still pose an issue, as domestic laws in countries such as Germany can be more complex than in others.
Fortunately, for those looking to expand their networks there is a series of simple steps that can be taken to carefully manage an international mobile workforce.
Creating a one-world view
Mobile resource management (MRM) can aid international risk management by combining technologies such as telematics, routing and scheduling, alongside risk and policy compliance on a single platform. This can help enterprises with international bases and workforces communicate through a seamless interface. It also allows for differences in regulations across different countries, while also demonstrating a mobile duty of care. It can even work with HR processes to help ensure that every mobile worker has the right permissions to operate in various countries.
Due to a lack of hard borders in the European Union, there are often subtle differences between national and European laws that can be difficult to track and keep on top of. For example, while dashcams are both legal and commonly used by fleets in the UK, their use is illegal in Austria, Luxembourg and Portugal. Non-compliance can also result in significant fines, affecting an organization's bottom line. As a result, it is important that risk managers have technology in place that helps them reduce non-compliance with local regulations and factors in regional, national and international requirements and challenges.
By having a uniform system, regional offices across borders can avoid operating in independent silos, with data and reporting housed separately. Without shared technology, there might be little to no data connectivity or integration between the different international operations. Operating in silos like this can create a complex environment that makes a one-world-view of the business difficult from a risk management perspective and makes collecting important metrics such as efficiency and productivity almost impossible.
Maintaining a healthy fleet
Using an MRM system, risk managers can monitor their mobile assets and ensure fleet managers receive pre-emptive maintenance alerts. These services can track engine-on time and mileage and regulate how a vehicle should be maintained.Once a vehicle edges closer to its maintenance date, an automatic alert will come up in the reporting suite.
The technology also helps to lessen driving habits that negatively impact costs or vehicle longevity. A study conducted by Verizon with data from 719 fleets determined that vehicles operating with MRM technology experienced a 29% reduction in idling during the first month of use, increasing to 55% in the second month, in addition to a reduction in the number of harsh braking incidents. Systems like this help risk managers promote safe, efficient and compliant operation.
Monitoring driver behaviour
Creating a uniform set of driving standards across borders can help promote driver safety and compliance. With an MRM system in place, driver performance can be tracked via a safety performance dashboard in near real time. The technology can also issue alerts to notify the risk manager and operations team if drivers are failing to comply with local regulations around driver hours, vehicle usage, driver vehicle inspection reporting (DVIR) and so on. Systems like this can create greater uniformity across regions and help identify and rectify deficient driver behaviour.
MRM technology can also provide risk managers with valuable insights into accident or damage claims as well as helping to mitigate fleet liability risks and protecting against potential fraud, theft and supervisory negligence claims. Data relating to drivers' routes, behaviour, speed, location and other key pieces of evidence can also help businesses to avoid consequential losses and mitigate risk.
Whether your enterprise is looking to expand or not, the layers of data provided by MRM technology will help risk managers to manage compliance and that uniform practices are adhered to across the business. With the right tools, fleet managers and field service operators can promote driver safety in each individual country. When the time comes to drive exports, expand abroad, or open up new offices, having the right technology in place that is simple to roll out and on-board can be a key for mitigating risk.